Saturday, February 15, 2014

An unwelcomed sequel

My husband posted the following message on Facebook and emailed this notice to other friends.  He and I have written often on GuyDads about my previous battle with cancer. 
It has been a challenging start of the new year for us. At the beginning of the week, Eddie’s mom passed on after a long illness. Meanwhile, for the past two months, I have been having on going tests, procedures and doctor appointments. Unfortunately, very few of them resulted in good news. 

Dear Friends:

It is with heavy heart but still with much hope that Ed & I want to report a new development in his health situation.

Bottom-line: Ed's cancer is back.

The original colorectal cancer from four years ago, which we thought and hoped was totally gone, has in fact metastasized. We discovered something might be awry through the every-six-month blood tests he has been getting since he first got cancer. The latest numbers in December had exponentially increased from the previous June, leading to a P.E.T. scan and the discovery of nodules on both his lungs. This test led to two different, one-day biopsy sessions and a diagnosis of there being cancer cells among the nodules. Think of the nodules as small (largest is about .9 cm), numerous, and scattered between both lungs.

Even though the present nodules on both his lungs are very small, the fact they are metastasized from his original colorectal cancer means this is Stage 4 cancer and means he now enters into a stage of life where ongoing periods of chemotherapy will be the "new normal" (i.e., forever) -- with a hope that the drugs work, of course, along the way to give him periods of no chemo.

This first regime of chemotherapy (3 days at a time, every two weeks) will last at least 6 months, maybe 12. (Day one is on site. Days two and three will be an automatic drip system that he can use and carry on life as normal.) There are possibilities that other, more targeted drugs may be used, but that is not clear at this point if they are applicable to his kind of cancer.

As long as and when he feels like it, the doctor says he can continue things like jogging/walking, going to theatre/ballet/opera, etc. Most likely, it seems, the weeks he receives the treatments he will want to back off from much activity. The interim weeks, he hopefully will be better able to do more things. Short trips (even a week at a time) will be possible in between treatments; long trips (like our usual month in Europe in the summer) are out this year at least and during periods when he has chemo.

We are told each case is unique, and we are going to try not to look at the survival statistics (which of course we have already seen). We are going to be focused on healing and on enjoying each and every day along the way to its fullest (which, as you well know, has been our mantra all along).

We do believe in the power of community (global) and in the power of all good thoughts, prayers, drumming, toasts over dinner, etc. So, friends, go to it. Keep it up. We will do the same, if G-d forbid, you should require the same.

With much gratitude to have so many wonderful friends,

Eddie & Ed

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mom's passing

This has been a very trying week for us. There has been a numerous family and health challenges. Eddie’s birthday was on Monday, February 10th. The day began with the phone call from his brother telling of his mom’s passing a few hours earlier. His mom, Lois, had been seriously ill for the last couple months. We knew her time was not long and she was likely to pass on at anytime. The last several weeks she has been on hospice care. 
Fortunately, we were able to spend some time with her over the Thanksgiving holiday. During this time, she was still aware of the people around her and her surroundings. 
Dying on a relative’s birthday has been somewhat a family trait. Lois’s mother died on her birthday. And there have been several other instances of the phenomenon in the last couple of generations. 
Eddie wrote this beautiful, sweet obituary notice of his mother for local publication in Paris, Tennessee. 

Long-time Paris resident Lois Doughty Reynolds passed away on February 10, 2014 after a prolonged illness.  A silent partner in Furniture Exchange, Co. with her son and store manager Mike, Ms. Reynolds died at the age of 83 after enduring over fifty years of severe asthma and increasingly multiple other maladies.  
Born on December 5, 1930 in what was known as “Graystown” (a rural community now at the bottom of Kentucky Lake), Ms. Reynolds grew up in a loving, very close family of three daughters, her mother (former teacher/then homemaker, the late Cozie Futrell Doughty) and her father (a L&N Railroad worker, the late Elbert S. Doughty).  Her family moved often (Louisville, Puryear, Paris, Henry), with she and her sisters attending several schools along the way.  She graduated from Henry High School in 1948 and then began studying to be a Registered Nurse at the then Nobles Hospital of Paris.  Near the end of her preparation, she met and married the late Edward L. Reynolds, to whom she was married for 37 years.
While she was sick off and on her entire adult life and probably spent in total over two years of her life in the hospitals of Paris, Jackson, Nashville, and Memphis, Ms. Reynolds still found time to develop many interests and skills.  She was an outstanding cook and known for her decorated, four-layer cakes; her decadent fudge and brownies; and especially for her vanilla/chocolate pinwheel cookies.  She loved setting elaborate tables for entertaining her family at holidays; and the Super Bowl parties she hosted for her son Mike and his friends are still renowned.  She was also skilled in many decorative arts (decoupage, flower-arranging, shadow-box creations, etc.) as well as creative sewing of kids’ and grandkids’ Halloween/party costumes.  
The key joys of Ms. Reynolds’ life were her sons Eddie & Mike and their families.  Her life was often centered in making their lives the best she could.  Nothing gave her more happiness as her grandkids were growing up than to spend hours working puzzles, playing games, looking at photo albums, or cooking together.
Ms. Reynolds is survived by her two sons and their families: Mike of Paris and son Matt of Murfreesburo and daughter Katie of Paris; Eddie and his husband Ed of Palo Alto, CA and sons Joshua, Eli, and Jonathan, all of the San Francisco Bay Area, CA.  She is also survived by her sister Kathy and her husband Tom of Pinole, CA as well by many wonderful nieces and nephews of Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and California.
She was also preceded in death by a sister Edna Lee Tapp.  
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in memory of Ms. Reynolds.

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